Born in Johannesburg, South Africa to a Cypriot mother and Irish father, Mary McCarthy came to Limerick to learn more about her roots, but she found so much more here in Limerick.
Mary finds great strength being grounded in her parent’s roots and was surprised to find similarities between Irish and Cypriot cultures. “Ireland and Cyprus are close together in post colonialism.” After living here for a few years Mary says, “It feels like home. It is home. I walk down the street and see familiar faces I know I can chat and talk to. I love the spirit of people. I’ve found very interesting characters here in Limerick, there is a vast variety of intellectual people, creative people, quite a few philosophical, spiritual people too that I’ve met.”
Mary studied design on and off in Greece and continued her studies in Limerick Senior College and Limerick School of Art and Design. “I took a course in web design in Limerick Senior College, then I studied photography for two years there and that’s how I came to where I am now in the Limerick School of Art and Design studying Lens-Based Media Photography. I just handed in my dissertation!”
Mary sees great cultural potential in the city, “It has Fab Lab, 3d printing laser cutting, the Hunt Museum, it has Limerick Art Gallery. There’s the EVA exhibition with Koyo as the curator. Limerick is quite an awesome place to be. There’s events constantly happening; it’s a very cultural destination. It’s growing at a very fast pace. I personally think that Limerick is going to expand in such a way that it will be one of the major cities running cultural event, happenings, the arts and will be at the top of Ireland’s cities for future generations, gravitating the youth to the city in a few years. There is so much that is occurring.” And it is not just high-brow art and culture that Mary admires but the spirit of the people also, “Well I love that you can go to a pub and start talking to anybody and everybody. There’s that openness, depending on what time of day it is! But there is an openness here in Limerick and once you tap in to it, it has an allowance of communicating back to you in a way.”
Speaking of the bid, Mary echoes other Citizens of Limerick in saying that community involvement is key. “Street events are a must I think. These events will allow for anybody and everybody to be involved. Involvement of any form is vital. Sometimes the art world only allows for the art people who have the knowledge and understanding of that. To allow it to be immersive is the simplest, important thing. You are entitled to be a part of the happening. The event is not just of one person. It is not about the artist. The events are about allowing other people to be a part of the events and that is significant for the growth of Limerick. Once this happens in Limerick it will blow away the rest of Ireland.”